JACKSON, Wyo. — Search official: 3 sisters missing in Wyoming wilderness are found cold and hungry but healthy.
A web site dedicated to finding the girls posted this update: "The girls were found by search teams and are in a helicopter on their way back to civilization to reunite with the family. They are okay, we have no other news beyond that for now."
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JACKSON, Wyo. — Authorities expanded the search Thursday for three Midwestern sisters who have been missing in the Wyoming wilderness for days, hoping the experienced trekkers well-prepared for a backcountry trip simply took a wrong turn and will be found safe.
The number of people combing the wilderness doubled to more than 60, and they searched on horseback, on foot and with help from tracking dogs and two helicopters, said Lori Iverson, spokeswoman for the multiagency task force conducting the search.
The search began Tuesday after the sisters failed to return from their backcountry excursion. They left on June 28 and were scheduled to be in Chicago on Tuesday, Iverson said. It wasn't clear how long the girls planned to be in the wilderness, she said.
Their vehicle was found Wednesday at a wilderness trailhead in Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 25 miles southeast of the resort town of Jackson. The area has mountains climbing more than 11,000 feet, including Antoinette Peak.
Megan Margaret Andrews-Sharer, 25, of Milwaukee; Erin Andrews-Sharer, 22, of Columbus, Ohio; and Kelsi Andrews-Sharer, 16, also of Columbus, are experienced backcountry trekkers that spoke to a U.S. Forest Service employee before hiking into the wilderness, Iverson said.
"They were well-prepared for the trip," Iverson said. "They had the appropriate clothing, they had the appropriate gear."
Their vehicle was found in an area popular for hiking, but people and wildlife have carved out many alternate trails that can confuse hikers, Iverson said.
"It's very easy, even for experienced people, to get off course and make a wrong turn," she said. "So we simply suspect that the girls made a wrong turn and are looking for an egress out, maybe ending up in a location other than where their vehicle was."
Bears are in the area, but no signs point to any encounters, Iverson said.
The sisters' father is in Jackson but declined a request for an interview through Iverson. Their mother is on her way.
The Rev. Susan Patterson-Sumwalt of the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, said the sisters had worshipped there as children and that Megan Andrews-Sharer had worked there until recently.
"It's very hard. So many people in the church and this community have known this family for many years," Patterson-Sumwalt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Megan Andrews-Sharer resigned recently to work on a farm in Wyoming, Patterson-Sumwalt said.